The large brown algae commonly known as ‘kelp’ provide habitat to a variety of species in Puget Sound, and are considered critical habitat warranting protection. Conspicuous declines in the abundance of bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), the most common canopy-forming species in Puget Sound, have been observed in many areas.
Scientists are currently investigating whether growing kelp can reduce CO2 levels in the inland marine waters of Puget Sound.
In 2014 the North West Straits Commission launched a regional survey of bull kelp beds using a kayak-based survey protocol. Click here for more information on the survey methods. Several agencies including the Department of Natural Resources are interested in the on-the-ground surveys to confirm the data based on their flight surveys. This short video give you a better idea of the project.
Clallam MRC joined the effort in 2015 and in the summer 2016 started conducting the first kayak surveys along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
On July 2nd, 20th, 30th, and August 19th a group of volunteers including the summer intern Haley Gray went out to Freshwater Bay to survey the kelp beds in the bay. The first time they surveyed a smaller bed to the west of the boat ramp and the other times they surveyed a much larger bed to the east of the boat ramp.
The data is currently being compiled with data from other surveys conducted in Puget Sound.
On July 17th a land-based reconnaissance trip looked at several kelp beds between Deep Creek and Neah Bay. The kelp beds along the Strait are usually very large and therefore not suited for the kayak survey technique. However, one smaller kelp bed in a relatively protected area west of Clallam Bay was identified as a possible kelp bed to be surveyed in the future.